Two of the most famous operas in the repertoire come to life on stage in a new and unexpected way—through the power and emotion of dance. First, Georges Bizet’s passionate Spanish seductress Carmen, who cannot be tied by any one lover and who pays the ultimate price for her deepest desires. Then, Puccini’s heart-wrenching Butterfly, who suffers a similar fate in the name of love, as she does what she feels she must to preserve her honor. Has heartbreak ever been so graceful and so beautiful?
Dayton Ballet opens this weekend of dance boldly with Carmen, choreographed by Septime Webre, current Artistic Director of Hong Kong Ballet. Carmen was last performed by Dayton Ballet in 2006, so Dayton Ballet Artistic Director Karen Russo Burke is thrilled to bring a fresh approach to this classic tale with her talented company of dancers in this 2019-2020 season. Carmen is a handsome piece filled with a flamenco flair, a condensed version of the well-known story told completely through dance. Who can resist Carmen’s seductive Seguidilla or her inviting, tempestuous Habanera? The full company of 19 dancers will take the stage to dance this very physical and demanding choreography, with sets by Holly Highfil and costumes by Christina Gianini. Audience members who have experienced Carmen performed as an opera will enjoy seeing this luscious tale presented completely within a different art form.
After intermission, romance will transform into tragedy in Butterfly Suite, Karen Russo Burke’s ballet based on the 1898 short story Madame Butterfly by John Luther Long and immortalized by Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera. In this ballet, Burke makes captivating use of rich silks in different colors to symbolize aspects of the beautiful tragedy on stage, entwining Butterfly in a culmination of the course of the events in her life and the emotions that overtake her, leading to her demise. Burke is thrilled to be bringing this production, which premiered in Dayton in 2012, back to the stage once again at the Victoria Theatre. “A new cast of dancers brings new energy and interpretation to the story rich with tradition and emotion,” explains Burke. “The same story as Puccini’s masterful opera is brought to life not through the power of voice, but through the eloquence of dance.”